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FTR #927 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 6: Locker Room Eclipse

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by early winter of 2016. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more.) (The previous flash drive was current through the end of May of 2012.)

WFMU-FM is podcasting For The Record–You can subscribe to the podcast HERE [2].

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You can subscribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE [3].

You can subscribe to the comments made on programs and posts–an excellent source of information in, and of, itself HERE [4].

This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment [5].

thinkbignkickass [6]

NB: This description contains material not included in the original broadcast

Introduction: In the second week of October, the Presidential campaign has been dominated by discussion of, and reaction to, Donald Trump’s vulgar comments about women, something he dismissed as “locker room banter.” This dynamic has eclipsed far more important issues about Trump, his associations, his heritage (past and future), his financial dealings, his economic policies (or lack thereof) and the future of the political forces he has conjured. This program attempts to deal with those considerations.

Among those considerations are:

We will explore key points highlighted in this program at greater length in programs to come.

Program and Description Highlights Include: 

1. No one should be surprised to learn that Trump is a believer in eugenics, apparently part of his heritage from his father Fred.

“Donald Trump Believes He Has Superior Genes, Biographer Claims” by Caroline Mortimer; The Independent; 9/30/2016. [7]

Republican nominee follows ‘racehorse theory’ of genetics

Donald Trump has been accused of believing in the “racehorse theory” of genetics, which claims some people are genetically superior to others.

In an interview for US TV channel PBS [8], the Republican presidential nominee’s biographer Michael D’Antonio claimed the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, had taught him that the family’s success was genetic.

He said: “The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development.

“They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”

The theory, known as eugenics [9], first emerged during the 19th century and was used as a pretext for the sterilisation of disabled people until the practice was discredited after the Second World War.

Adolf Hitler’s [10] justification for the Holocaust [11] – in which 11 million people were killed, 6 million of them Jewish – was based on a similar theory of racial hierarchy.

The PBS documentary featured clips of Mr Trump on the campaign trial claiming that he “believes in the gene thing” and saying he had a “very high aptitude”.

It also ran footage of previous interviews from the real estate magnate’s time as a reality TV star in which he shared his thoughts on the subject, including a 2010 interview with CNN. [52].

He said: “Well I think I was born with the drive for success because I have a certain gene.

“I’m a gene believer… Hey, when you connect two race horses, you usually end up with a fast horse.

“I had a good gene pool from the standpoint of that, so I was pretty much driven.”

Mr Trump has become notorious for his bravado on the campaign trail and claimed he could solve problems that have plagued policymakers for decades with ease because he is a “smart guy”. [53]

At a rally in Washington, D.C. in September 2015, Mr Trump claimed that, if he became president, “we’ll win so much, you’ll get bored with winning”.

2a. In FTR #’s 918 [54] and 919 [55], we explored the Buerger Zeitung’s “Open Letter to Stalin,” a gambit that we feel corresponds well to Donald Trump’s relatively benign comments bout Putin/Ukraine/Crimea etc. In addition to the “all things Steuben” orientation of Trump advisor Joseph E. Schmitz, we note Donald Trump’s links to the Steuben Society milieu.

“Donald Trump;”  wikipedia. [47]

. . . . Trump has said that he is proud of his German heritage; he served as grand marshal [48] of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade [49] in New York City.[12] [50][nb 1] [51]. . . . .

2b. Trump has, in fact, digested Hitler’s rhetorical style, having acquired and read a book of Hitler’s speeches.

“After the Gold Rush” by Marie Brenner; Vanity Fair; 9/1990. [45]

. . . . Donald Trump appears to take aspects of his German background seriously. John Walter works for the Trump Organization, and when he visits Donald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” possibly as a family joke.

. . . . Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. . . . Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist. . . .

2c. Earlier this year, a controversy emerged when old newspaper articles about arrests at a 1927 Klan rally in Queens (New York City) mentioned a “Fred Trump” as among the “berobed marchers” arrested at the event.Although the identification of Trump’s father as one of the Klan participants has not been definitively established, The Donald lied when confronted with the address of the arrested Fred Trump.

” . . . . asked if his father had lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road—the address listed for the Fred Trump arrested at the 1927 Klan rally—Donald dismissed the claim as “totally false.”

“We lived on Wareham,” he told Horowitz. “The Devonshire—I know there is a road ‘Devonshire,’ but I don’t think my father ever lived on Devonshire.” Trump went on to deny everything else in the Times’ account of the 1927 rally: “It shouldn’t be written because it never happened, number one. And number two, there was nobody charged.”

Biographical records confirm that the Trump family did live on Wareham Place in Queens in the 1940s, when Donald was a kid. But according to at least one archived newspaper clip, Fred Trump also lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road: A wedding announcement in the January 22, 1936 issue of the Long Island Daily Press, places Fred Trump at that address, and refers to his wife as “Mary MacLeod,” which is Donald Trump’s mother’s maiden name. . . .”

It seems altogether probable that The Donald’s father was the “Fred Trump” arrested at the rally for “failing to disperse,” but Fred Trump’s specific activities at the Klan Rally have not been established.

In the context of assessing the deep politics surrounding Trump, the possibility of Klan participation by his father is interesting and possibly relevant. In Under Cover [56] (available for download for free on this website), the extensive networking between dominant elements of the KKK and various Fifth Column organizations in this country is covered at length.

One of those Fifth Column organizations was America First–again, Trump has appropriated that name.

Also of interest in the context of the “Fred Trump” arrested at the Klan Rally is the fact that David Duke has been an enthusiastic supporter of Trump, who was altogether hesitant about disavowing Duke’s support.

All the Evidence We Could Find About Fred Trump’s Alleged Involvement with the KKK” by Mike Pearl; Vice News; 3/9/2016. [46]

Late last month, in an interview with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, CNN host Jake Tapper asked the candidate whether he would disavow an endorsement from longtime Ku Klux Klan leader and white nationalist celebrity David Duke. Trump declined. “I don’t know anything about David Duke,” he said. Moments later, he added, “I know nothing about white supremacists.”

Trump has since walked back his comments, blaming his hesitance to condemn the Klan on a “bad earpiece.” The matter has now been filed away into the ever-growing archives of volatile statements Trump has made about race and ethnicity during the current election cycle—a list that includes kicking off his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists, calling for the “‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and commenting that perhaps a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his rallies “should have been roughed up.”

But the particulars of the David Duke incident call to mind yet another news story, one that suggests that Trump’s father, the late New York real estate titan Fred Trump, once wore the robe and hood of a Klansman.

Versions of this story emerged last September when Boing Boing dug up an old New York Times article from May of 1927 that listed a Fred Trump among those arrested at a Klan rally in Jamaica, Queens, when “1,000 Klansmen and 100 policemen staged a free-for-all,” in the streets. Donald Trump’s father would have been 21 in 1927 and had spent most of his life in Queens.

As Boing Boing pointed out, the Times account simply names Fred Trump as one of the seven individuals arrested at the rally, and it states that he was released without charges, leaving room for the possibility that he “may have been an innocent bystander, falsely named, or otherwise the victim of mistaken identity during or following a chaotic event.”

A few weeks after Boing Boing unearthed that 88-year-old scoop, the New York Times asked Donald Trump about the possibility that his father had been arrested at a Klan event. The younger Trump denied it all, telling interviewer Jason Horowitz that “it never happened” four times. When Horowitz asked if his father had lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road—the address listed for the Fred Trump arrested at the 1927 Klan rally—Donald dismissed the claim as “totally false.”

“We lived on Wareham,” he told Horowitz. “The Devonshire—I know there is a road ‘Devonshire,’ but I don’t think my father ever lived on Devonshire.” Trump went on to deny everything else in the Times’ account of the 1927 rally: “It shouldn’t be written because it never happened, number one. And number two, there was nobody charged.”

Biographical records confirm that the Trump family did live on Wareham Place in Queens in the 1940s, when Donald was a kid. But according to at least one archived newspaper clip, Fred Trump also lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road: A wedding announcement in the January 22, 1936 issue of the Long Island Daily Press, places Fred Trump at that address, and refers to his wife as “Mary MacLeod,” which is Donald Trump’s mother’s maiden name.

Moreover, three additional newspaper clips unearthed by VICE contain separate accounts of Fred Trump’s arrest at the May 1927 KKK rally in Queens, each of which seems to confirm the Times account of the events that day. While the clips don’t confirm whether Fred Trump was actually a member of the Klan, they do suggest that the rally—and the subsequent arrests—did happen, and did involve Donald Trump’s father, contrary to the candidate’s denials. A fifth article mentions the seven arrestees without giving names, and claims that all of the individuals arrested—presumably including Trump—were wearing Klan attire.

The June 1, 1927, account of the May 31 Klan rally printed in a defunct Brooklyn paper called the Daily Star specifies that a Fred Trump “was dismissed on a charge of refusing to disperse.” That article lists seven total arrests, and states that four of those arrested were expected to go to court, and two were paroled. Fred Trump was the only one not held on charges.

The Klan’s reaction to the alleged police brutality at the rally was the subject of another article, published in the Queens County Evening News on June 2, 1927, and titled “Klan Placards Assail Police, As War Vets Seek Parade Control.” The piece is mainly about the Klan distributing leaflets about being “assaulted” by the “Roman Catholic police of New York City” at that same rally. The article mentions Fred Trump as having been “discharged” and gives the Devonshire Road address, along with the names and addresses of the other six men who faced charges.

Yet another account in another defunct local newspaper, the Richmond Hill Record, published on June 3, 1927, lists Fred Trump as one of the “Klan Arrests,” and also lists the Devonshire Road address.

Another article about the rally, published by the Long Island Daily Press on June 2, 1927, mentions that there were seven arrestees without listing names, and claims that all of the individuals arrested were wearing Klan attire. The story, titled “Meeting on Parade Is Called Off,” focuses on the police actions at the rally, noting criticism of the cops for brutally lashing out at the Klan supporters, who had assembled during a Memorial Day parade.

While the Long Island Daily Press doesn’t mention Fred Trump specifically, the number of arrestees cited in the report is consistent with the other accounts of the rally. Significantly, the article refers to all of the arrestees as “berobed marchers.” If Fred Trump, or another one of the attendees, wasn’t dressed in a robe at the time, that may have been a reporting error worth correcting.

According to Rory McVeigh, chairman of the sociology department at the University of Notre Dame, the version of the Klan that would have been active in Queens during the 1920s may not have necessarily participated in stereotypical KKK activities like fiery crosses and lynch mobs.

“The Klan that became very popular in the early 1920s did advocate white supremacy like the original Klan,” McVeigh told VICE in an email. “But in that respect, [its views were] not too much different from a lot of other white Americans of that time period.” In New York, McVeigh added, “the organization’s opposition to immigration and Catholics probably held the biggest appeal for most of the people who joined.”

None of the articles prove that Fred Trump was a member of the Klan, and it’s possible that he was, as Boing Boing suggested, just a bystander at the rally. But while Donald Trump is absolutely right to say that his father was not charged in the 1927 incident, the candidate’s other claims—that Fred Trump never lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road, and more importantly, that his involvement in a Klan rally “never happened”—appear to be untrue.

The Trump campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment. . . .

3. Apparently, Trump’s “superior” genes may be framing political debate for some time. We review discussion of Donald Trump, Jr.’s role in tweeting and re-tweeting Nazi dog-whistles.

“Trump Jr’s ‘Skittles’ Tweet Is Based on Two Different White Supremacist Memes — and Nazi Propaganda” by Travis Gettys; Raw Story ; 9/20/2016. [12]

Donald Trump Jr. drew widespread condemnation [13] for comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned candy — but his analogy isn’t a new one, and it’s based on two separate white supremacist memes with roots in Nazi propaganda.

Trump — the Republican presidential candidate’s eldest son and a top campaign surrogate — tweeted the image Monday evening in an apparent response to the dumpster bombing over the weekend in New York City, which his dad inaptly linked [14] to the refugee crisis.

“This image says it all,” reads the text. “Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016,” accompanied by the official Donald Trump/Mike Pence campaign logo and slogan. The analogy isn’t new, and has been used for years by white supremacists to overgeneralize about various minority groups. “It is often deployed as a way to prop up indefensible stereotypes by taking advantage of human ignorance about base rates, risk assessment and criminology,” wrote Emil Karlsson on the blog Debunking Denialism [15]. “In the end, it tries to divert attention from the inherent bigotry in making flawed generalizations.” A spokeswoman for Wrigley Americas, which makes Skittles, whacked Trump’s dehumanizing comparison. “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy,” said Denise Young [57], vice president of corporate affairs. “We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

Joe Walsh, a single-term congressman from Illinois and now a right-wing talk radio host who’s been booted from the airwaves for using racial slurs [58], bragged that Trump’s meme was nearly identical to one he had tweeted a month earlier.

The analogy, which has been used on message boards and shared as social media memes, originally used M&Ms as the candy in question — but that changed after George Zimmerman gunned down Trayvon Martin while the unarmed black teen was walking home from buying a drink and some Skittles.

A Google image search of “skittles trayvon meme” [16]reveals a horrible bounty of captioned images mocking the slain teenager, whose killer was acquitted after claiming self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

But the poisoned candy analogy goes back even further, to an anti-Semitic children’s book published by Julius Streicher, the publisher of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer who was executed in 1946 as a war criminal.

The book tells the tale of “the poisonous mushroom,” and was used to indoctrinate children in hate.

“Just as poisonous mushrooms spring up everywhere, so the Jew is found in every country in the world,” the story’s mother explains to her son. “Just as poisonous mushrooms often lead to the most dreadful calamity, so the Jew is the cause of misery and distress, illness and death.”

So Trump’s appalling analogy isn’t just unoriginal and demeaning — it’s actually racist in four different ways.

4. Roger Stone and Trump, Jr. were portrayed in an Alt.right tweet endorsed by the Trumpenkampfverbande. Do not lose sight of the fact that Stone is now networking with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

“Trump Ally, Son Share Meme Featuring Symbol Of White Nationalist Alt-Right” by Allegra Kirkland; Talking Points Memo Livewire; 9/12/2016. [17]

Two members of Donald Trump’s inner circle shared memes on social media over the weekend featuring a symbol popular with the white nationalist alt-right.

Riffing off of Hillary Clinton’s remark that some of Trump’s supporters are racists, misogynists, and xenophobes who belong in a “basket of deplorables [18],” the meme shared by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump ally Roger Stone showed key Trump allies photoshopped onto a poster from the move “The Expendables.” In the edited poster for “The Deplorables,” those armed staffers and Trump boosters are shown alongside Pepe the Frog, a cartoon figure that first cropped up on the 4chan website and has since become associated with the white supremacist movement online.

Trump, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Ben Carson, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and alt-right figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos were among those in included in the image.

“Apparently I made the cut as one of the Deplorables,” Trump Jr. wrote on Instagram in a caption accompanying the meme, saying he was “honored” to be grouped among Trump’s supporters.

Informal Trump advisor Roger Stone shared the same image on Twitter, saying he was “so proud to be one of the Deplorables.”

Pepe the Frog has emerged as an unofficial mascot [59]of the alt-right, a loosely defined group of white nationalists who congregate online to debate IQ differences between the races and joke [60] about burning Jewish journalists in ovens.

Last fall, Trump himself shared a meme featuring himself as president Pepe. He has retweeted users with handles like @WhiteGenocideTM on multiple occasions.

@codyave [61]: @drudgereport [62]@BreitbartNews [63]@Writeintrump [64] “You Can’t Stump the Trump”https://t.co/0xITB7XeJV [65]pic.twitter.com/iF6S05se2w [66]“— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2015 [67]

Trump has disavowed support from the alt-right and white supremacists like former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, though he hired Steve Bannon, chairman of the alt-right promoting Breitbart News, as his campaign CEO in August.

5. Trump, Jr. has political aspirations. The gravitas that Snowden and WikiLeaks have with young Americans may bear very bitter fruit, indeed.

“A Chip off the Old Block” by Digby; Hullabaloo; 9/21/2016. [20]

I wrote about Trump Jr for Salon this morning:In the beginning of the 2016 campaign the only one of Donald Trump’s five children with a high public profile was his daughter Ivanka who has her own celebrity brand just like her father’s. The two older sons were unknown to the general public but they made quite a good first impression [68] when the whole family appeared on a CNN family special. They are all so attractive and glamorous that many people came to believe they were Donald Trump’s best feature. Indeed, it was said that the fact he’d raised such an admirable family spoke so well of him that it smoothed some of the rough edges of his own personality. Unfortunately, as people have gotten to know them better, they’ve revealed themselves to be as rough edged as dear old Dad, particularly his namesake, Donald Jr.

For most of the primaries Trump proudly evoke his two older sons when he talked about the 2nd amendment, touting their NRA membership and love of guns. It was a little bit shocking to see the ghastly pictures of their African big game kills including a horrific shot of Trump Jr holding a severed elephant tail, but they seemed to otherwise be pretty ordinary hard-working businessmen devoted to their family. For the most part they kept a low profile, serving as the usual family props in a political campaign.

When Donald Jr spoke to a white supremacist radio host in March [21] it set off a few alarm bells simply because his father’s extreme immigration policies had been so ecstatically received by white nationalist groups. But most chalked it up to inexperience and let it go. Surely Junior wasn’t as crudely racist as the old man who was reported to keep a book of Hitler speeches next to the bed [22]. But just a few days later he retweeted [23] a racist science fiction writer named Theodore Beale who goes by the handle of “Vox Day” claiming that a famous picture of a Trump supporter giving a Nazi salute was actually a follower of Bernie Sanders. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree after all.

At the GOP convention in July, all four of the grown kids gave heartfelt speeches about their Dad, even as they made clear through their childhood anecdotes that the only time they ever spent with him was at the office and it seemed that Junior in particular had taken a more active role and was seen in a more serious light. people were talking about him as a moderating voice in the campaign.

Right after the convention, however, he let out a deafening dogwhistle that left no doubt as to his personal affiliation with the far right. He went to the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia Mississippi [24], best remembered as the place where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. But it has special political significance as the site of Ronald Reagan’s famous “states’ rights” speech [25] in 1980 where he signaled his sympathy for white supremacy by delivering it at the scene of that horrendous racist crime. (The man who coined the term “welfare queen” was always a champion dogwhistler.) Trump Jr went there to represent and represent he did. When asked what he thought about the confederate flag he said [26], “I believe in tradition. I don’t see a lot of the nonsense that’s been created about that.”

Since then it’s been revealed that he follows a number of white nationalists on twitter [27] and he’s retweeted several including a a psychologist who believes Jews manipulate society. [28] And in the last couple of weeks Junior has let his alt-right freak flag fly. First he got excited about Hillary Clinton’s “deplorable” comment and proudly retweeted a picture with the title “The Deplorables” [69] that had been making the rounds featuring Trump, Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Eric Trump and Donald Jr along with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, right wing hit man Roger Stone, alt-right leader Milo Yianopolis and white supremacist symbol Pepe the Frog. There’s no indication that any of them had a problem with that but a lot of other people found it to be revealing, to say the least.

A couple of days later Trump Jr stepped in it again, saying the media would be “warming up the gas chamber” [70] for Republicans if they lied and cheated the way Hillary Clinton does. He claimed he was talking about capital punishment but his association with virulent anti-Semites makes that claim ring a little bit hollow.

And then there was the Skittles incident. Donald Jr tweeted out a deeply offensive image of a bowl of skittles with the words “If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you three would kill you would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” [71] It’s a terrible metaphor, wrong in every way and Donald Jr took some heat for it. But it’s yet another window into his association with alt-right white nationalism. That bad metaphor has been around in various forms for a long time [72]. In this country it was usually a bowl of M&Ms representing black people. [15]. The people who traffic in this garbage fairly recently changed it to Skittles because that was the candy Trayvon Martin had bought on the night he was murdered by vigilante George Zimmerman. Yes, it’s that sick.

You hear pundits and commentators saying that Donald Trump is sui generis and his phenomenon won’t be recreated. They’re probably right. But perhaps they are not aware that his son also has political ambitions [29] and he is simply a younger, better looking version of his father with much more hair. If alt-right white nationalism is going to be an ongoing feature of American political life, they have their leader. He is one of them.

6. More about Trump, Jr. and his political aspirations, is in the article below.

The fundamental point to be understood here is this: As discussed in FTR #’s 920 [30], 921 [31] and 922 [32], the Trumpenkampfverbande is the manifestation of the Underground Reich metamorphosing into an above-ground, mass-based political movement. It will not go away. Whether it is led by Donald Trump, Jr. (who does not appear to share his father’s inclination to sexual vulgarity and aggression) or someone else, it will not go away.

“Yikes! Now Donald Trump Jr. Says He Would “Love” to Run for Office ‘as a Patriot’ ” by Sophia Tesfaye; Salon; 7/20/2016. [29]

After his questionable speech to the RNC, Trump Jr. said he “would consider” running once his kids finish school

Calling it “one of the most thrilling moments of my life,” Donald Trump Jr. brushed aside burgeoning controversy surrounding the second Trump family speech at the RNC in as many days while speaking with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday morning.

The oldest son of the Republican presidential nominee said that while he still has “a lot to do in my own career,” he would seriously consider following in his father’s footsteps out of real estate and into political life.

The 38-year-old New Yorker said that “maybe when the kids get out of school I would consider it.” The father of five explained that he’d “love to be able to do it, as a patriot.”

His seemingly premature flirtation with political office comes hours after he delivered a major address to the RNC Tuesday evening — a speech that has already been flagged as a potential second case of Trump family plagiarism.

https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/755601024908300288 [73]

While Trump Jr. told [74] Fox News’ Sean Hannity that “We [the Trump kids] all took a lot of pride. We all wrote the speeches ourselves,” American Conservative columnist told [75] Vox News that the apparently lifted portions can’t be considered plagiarism because he wrote both the original column and the Trump’s speech.

So while he may not be a plagiarizer in the new conservative definition [76] of the word (my college professors always warned against recycling my own work for new courses) it looks like we may have another Donald Trump popping up on the political landscape very soon.

 

7. Donald Trump’s bank of choice: Deutsche Bank! As the article below points out, it’s a long relationship going back to the early 90’s, with at least $2.5 billion lent. Even when the 2008 crash strained Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, the company’s private banking arm continued to back “The Donald.”

“When Donald Trump Needs a Loan, He Chooses Deutsche Bank” by Anupreeta Das; The Wall Street Journal; 3/20/2016. [34]

Despite some clashes, the Republican front-runner has been a regular client of the German lender

One of Donald Trump’s closest allies on Wall Street is a now-struggling German bank.

While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a steadfast financial backer of the Republican presidential candidate’s business interests. Since 1998, the bank has led or participated in loans of at least $2.5 billion to companies affiliated with Mr. Trump, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public records and people familiar with the matter.

That doesn’t include at least another $1 billion in loan commitments that Deutsche Bank made to Trump-affiliated entities.

The long-standing connection makes Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank, which has a large U.S. operation and has been grappling with reputational problems [77] and an almost 50% stock-price decline, the financial institution with probably the strongest ties to the controversial New York businessman.

But the relations at times have been rocky. Deutsche Bank’s giant investment-banking unit stopped working with Mr. Trump after an acrimonious legal spat, even as another arm of the company continued to loan him money.

Other Wall Street banks, after doing extensive business with Mr. Trump in the 1980s and 1990s, pulled back in part due to frustration with his business practices but also because he moved away from real-estate projects that required financing, according to bank officials. Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are among the banks that don’t currently work with him.

At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., bankers “know better than to pitch” a Trump-related deal, said a former Goldman executive. Goldman officials say there is little overlap between its core investment-banking group and Mr. Trump’s businesses.

Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump dates to the 1990s. The bank, eager to expand in the U.S. via commercial-real-estate lending, set out to woo big New York developers such as Mr. Trump and Harry Macklowe.

One of the bank’s first loans to Mr. Trump, in 1998, was $125 million to renovate the office building at 40 Wall Street. More deals soon followed, with the bank agreeing over the next few years to loan or help underwrite bonds worth a total of more than $1.3 billion for Trump entities.

By 2005, Deutsche Bank had emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s leading bankers. That year, the German bank and others lent a Trump entity $640 million to build the 92-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Deutsche Bank officials badly wanted the deal because it came with a $12.5 million fee attached, said a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Trump charmed the bankers, flying them on his private Boeing 727 jet, according to people who traveled with him.

But when the housing bubble burst, the relationship frayed.

In 2008, Mr. Trump failed to pay $334 million he owed on the Chicago loan because of lackluster sales of the building’s units. He then sued Deutsche Bank. His argument was that the economic crisis constituted a “force majeure”—an unforeseen event such as war or natural disaster—that should excuse the repayment until conditions improved.

His lawyers were inspired to invoke the clause after hearing former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan describe the crisis as a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami,” according to a person who worked on the case for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump also attacked Deutsche Bank’s lending practices and said that as a big bank, it was partially responsible for causing the financial crisis. He sought $3 billion in damages.

Deutsche Bank in turn sued Mr. Trump, saying it was owed $40 million that the businessman had personally guaranteed in case his company was unable to repay the loan.

Deutsche Bank argued that Mr. Trump had a cavalier history toward banks, quoting from his 2007 book, “Think Big And Kick Ass In Business And Life.”

“I figured it was the bank’s problem, not mine,” Mr. Trump wrote, according to the lawsuit. “What the hell did I care? I actually told one bank, ‘I told you you shouldn’t have loaned me that money. I told you that goddamn deal was no good.’”

The court rejected Mr. Trump’s arguments but the suit forced Deutsche Bank to the negotiating table. The two sides agreed to settle their suits out of court in 2009. The following year, they extended the original loan by five years. It was paid off in 2012—with the help of a loan from the German firm’s private bank.

While Deutsche Bank didn’t lose money on the deal, the fracas soured its investment bankers on working with Mr. Trump. “He was persona non grata after that,” said a banker who worked on the deal.

But not everyone within Deutsche Bank wanted to sever the relationship. The company’s private-banking arm, which caters to ultrarich families and individuals, picked up the slack, lending well over $300 million to Trump entities in the following years. . . .

8. The fact that Donald Trump recently borrowed a large sum a money to one of the financial world’s biggest serial regulatory violators should become an issue in the 2016. So far, it hasn’t.

“Trump Has a Conflict-of-Interest Problem No Other White House Candidate Ever Had” by Russ Choma and David Corn; Mother Jones; 6/01/2016. [35]

He owes at least $100 million to a foreign bank that’s battled with US regulators.

In his most recent financial disclosure statement [78], Donald Trump notes he has billions of dollars in assets. But the presumptive GOP nominee also has a tremendous load of debt that includes five loans each over $50 million. (The disclosure form, which presidential candidates must submit, does not compel candidates to reveal the specific amount of any loans that exceed $50 million, and Trump has chosen not to provide details.) Two of those megaloans are held by Deutsche Bank, which is based in Germany but has US subsidiaries. And this prompts a question that no other major American presidential candidate has had to face: What are the implications of the chief executive of the US government being in hock for $100 million (or more) to a foreign entity that has tried to evade laws aimed at curtailing risky financial shenanigans, that was recently caught manipulating markets around the world, and that attempts to influence the US government?

9. Equities markets have been wavering lately, in part because of worries about Deutsche Bank. It is interesting and significant that campaign analysis and discussion (with the exception of the Mother Jones article above) have not factored the Trump/Deutsche relationship into their evaluation.

“Deutsche Bank Troubles Raise Fears of Global Shock” by Peter S. Goodman; The New York Times; 9/30/2016. [36]

Germany’s largest bank appears in danger, sending stock markets worldwide on a wild ride. Yet the biggest source of worry is less about its finances than a vast tangle of unknowns — not least, whether Europe can muster the will to mount a rescue in the event of an emergency.

In short, fears that Europe lacks the cohesion to avoid a financial crisis may be enhancing the threat of one.

The immediate source of alarm is the health of Deutsche Bank [37], whose vast and sprawling operations are entangled with the fates of investment houses from Tokyo to London to New York.

Deutsche is staring at a multibillion-dollar fine from the Justice Department for its enthusiastic participation in Wall Street’s festival of toxic mortgage products in the years leading up to financial crisis of 2008. Given Deutsche’s myriad other troubles — a role in the manipulation of a financial benchmark, claims of trades that violated Russian sanctions and a generalized sense of confusion about its mission — the American pursuit of a stiff penalty comes at an inopportune time. . . .

. . . . The European Union has become a focus of populist anger, further constraining options. And Germany has opposed bailouts for lenders in other lands, making a Deutsche rescue politically radioactive.

All of which adds to worries that Deutsche amounts to a fire burning, one that might yet become an inferno, while the fire department is consumed with existential arguments over its purpose. If the alarm sounds, no one can be sure what, if anything, will happen.

In the worst case — now highly unlikely — the bank could collapse, inciting a scramble to pull money from markets around the globe. Institutions that trade with Deutsche would feel an urge to collect their cash immediately. Given the scale of the bank’s balance sheet — 1.8 trillion euros, or more than $2 trillion — that inclination is likely to spread to every crevice of finance. Economies would grind to a halt. Jobs and fortunes would disappear. . . .

. . . . The biggest form of insurance against panic is confidence that larger players — in this case, European authorities — stand at the ready to mount a rescue, should one be required.

But confidence is not something Europe has proved terribly skilled at instilling. Its abilities to marshal a bailout are dubious. New rules introduced to discourage reckless investments by large financial institutions bar taxpayer-financed bailouts.

Germany has been adamant that these strictures be applied, rebuffing a recent attempt by the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, to secure an exemption allowing him to inject taxpayer money into the Italian banking system. The optics of Germany seeking a way around the rules for its largest lender would be especially problematic.

The Deutsche chief and the German government both shot down a report [79] that the bank had asked that a bailout be prepared.

More broadly, Germany has been the most fervent voice that reckless economic pursuits should be punished, no matter the human toll.

As Athens has negotiated with European authorities and the International Monetary Fund for a series of bailouts, Germany has demanded deep cuts to Greek public spending, sharply cutting pension payments to retirees. The Greek government used much of the bailout money to pay back debts to German banks.

Against this backdrop, a German bailout of its largest bank would reinvigorate accusations that it uses the European Union as a cover to pursue its own national interests.

10. Amid reassurances that Deutsche Bank will weather the storm, we note: ” . . . . the €42 trillion worth of derivatives that sit on its books, an amount about 11 times the size of the German economy. . . .”

“Deutsche Bank’s Appetite for Risk Throws Off Its Balance” by Landon Thomas, Jr.; The New York Times; 10/02/2016. [38]

The global banking giants — think of JPMorgan Chase or HSBC — make a nice return by capturing their share of the trillions of dollars that course through financial markets each day.

But few are as reliant on this business — be it swapping currencies, selling bonds or structuring derivatives — as Deutsche Bank [37], the giant lender that has made its name not as a home for German savers but as a place for hedge funds and other risk-loving investors to put on some of their boldest financial bets.

And that is why its swooning stock price last week set off alarm bells in finance ministries, central bank suites and trading floors from Hong Kong to New York.

More than eight years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers sent shock waves around the world, the fear is whether Deutsche Bank and its highly leveraged balance sheet of 1.6 trillion euros might teeter and set off another bout of financial contagion.

Those worries [80] calmed down somewhat late last week as Deutsche Bank’s shares rose after reports that the bank may be close to cutting a deal with the United States Justice Department regarding the fine it must pay for selling toxic mortgages during the financial crisis.

There has also been a growing realization that Deutsche Bank, even with its thin cushion of cash, is in much better financial shape than Lehman Brothers was. In a letter to employees on Friday, Deutsche’s chief executive, John Cryan, highlighted the “strong fundamentals” of the bank.

It has €220 billion, or $247 billion, in ready liquidity, compared with $45 billion for Lehman in 2007, and the bank can also tap central banks in the United States and in Europe for a financial lifeline if need be.

That does not mean, however, that traders and regulators will stop fretting about, among other things, the €42 trillion worth of derivatives that sit on its books, an amount about 11 times the size of the German economy. . . .

11. It is also worth noting that precisely how healthy Deutsche Bank is or isn’t is, past a point, a matter of conjecture. The European Central Bank skewed Deutsche Bank’s stress test.

“Deutsche Received Special Treatment in EU Stress Tests Via ECB Concession” by Laura Noonan and Caroline Binham and James Shotter; Financial Times ; 10/11/2016; p. 1. [39]

Deutsche Bank [40] was given special treatment in the summer EU stress tests that promised to restore faith in Europe’s banks by assessing all of their finances in the same way.

Germany’s biggest lender, which has seen its share price fall as much as 22 per cent in recent weeks on fears that it could face a US fine of up to $14bn [41], has been using the results of the July stress tests as evidence of its healthy finances.

But the Financial Times has learnt that Deutsche’s result was boosted by a special concession agreed by its supervisor, the European Central Bank.

Deutsche’s [81] results included the $4bn proceeds from selling its stake in Chinese lender Hua Xia even though the deal had not been done by the end of 2015, the official cut-off point for transactions to be included.

The Hua Xia sale was agreed in December 2015. It has still not been completed and now faces a delay after missing a regulatory deadline [82] last month, though the bank is still confident of completion this year. . . .

. . . . “This [Deutsche’s treatment] is perplexing,” said Chris Wheeler, an analyst at Atlantic Equities. “The circumstances mean that it is inevitable the market watchers will be suspicious and have some concern about the veracity of the results.” . . . .

12. Donald Trump has flip-flopped about the Federal Reserve and Janet Yellen. After saying benign things about her, and appearing to endorse low interest rates, Trump has flip flopped, promising to replace her and exert pressure to raise interest rates. Note that Trump’s advisers advocate a return to the gold standard and are contemptuous of the Federal Reserve Bank, rather like Eddie the Friendly Spook (Snowden.) We will cover this at greater length next week.

” . . . . Trump’s economic advisers can for the most part be placed in one of three groups. In the first are Larry Kudlow and Judy Shelton, the intellectuals of the bunch, and both advocates of a return to the gold standard. While it has become popular among some Republicans in the past few years, returning to the gold standard is dismissed as a discredited, fringe idea by nearly all economists and market participants. And, for their part, gold-standard supporters typically reject the very idea of a Federal Reserve, so if Trump were to appoint Kudlow, Shelton, or another gold-standard supporter to the Fed, it would be the most radical and potentially damaging economic move since the dawn of our modern economic system, after the Great Depression. . . . Finally, there’s the group represented by Stephen Bannon, the former Goldman Sachs banker and Breitbart News chief now heading Trump’s campaign. Bannon has not talked much publicly about his views of the Fed. But his deep association with the alt-right is worth examining: some on the alt-right have expressed contempt for the very idea of a healthy economy. . . . In reading stories on Breitbart and other sites connected to the awful alt-right movement that Trump has embraced, I found it impossible to identify any overarching view of how the economy should work. There were sloppy and occasional potshots at Obama or Yellen, and a general contempt for the many institutions of modern liberal society. But there were no coherent economics. Which brings us back to Trump’s own views. He has no coherent plan, no view that can be mapped onto the common range of established discussion, whether left, right, or center. On Thursday, Trump’s campaign released his “economic policy [43].” Amid the assertions that a dramatic cut in taxes and regulation will lead to more economic growth and higher employment, there is no mention of the Federal Reserve. Instead, Trump has offered the public a general, instinctive contempt for the Fed and its policies. . . .”

“Trump and the Truth: The Interest-Rate Flip-Flop” by Adam Davidson; The New Yorker; 9/15/2016. [42]

This essay is part of a series The New Yorker will be running through the election titled “Trump and the Truth [83].”

Over the past year, Donald Trump, who famously never backs down, has attacked, backed down, and then again attacked Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve. He has done it in his way, never acknowledging when he says precisely the opposite of what he has previously said. (Yellen, for her part, has ignored the whole thing.)

Trump’s Yellen cycle began in October, when, in an interview [84] with The Hill, he accused Yellen of keeping down the Fed’s key interest rate, known as the Fed funds rate, because President Obama “doesn’t want to have a recession-slash-depression during his administration.” (This raised the question, of course, Who expects a President to want a recession-slash-depression?) By the spring of this year, Trump had revised his thinking about Yellen. “I have nothing against Janet Yellen whatsoever,” he told [85] CNBC, on May 5th. “She’s a very capable person. People that I know have a very high regard for her.” Trump explained his newly rosy view by endorsing the very policy he had mocked a few months earlier. “She’s a low-interest-rate person; she’s always been a low-interest-rate person. And I must be honest, I’m a low-interest-rate person.” A couple of weeks later, Trump reiterated his happy view of the Fed chair. In an interview with Reuters [86], he said, “I’m not a person that thinks Janet Yellen is doing a bad job.”

This week, Trump was back on the attack. On Monday, he told CNBC [87] that Yellen should be “ashamed” of the low-interest-rate policy that Trump himself endorsed so fully in May. “She is obviously political, and she’s doing what Obama wants her to do,” he said. Once again, Trump made the claim that there was a secret Obama-Yellen pact to keep rates low, rooted in their nefarious desire to prevent an economic crisis. They both knew, he said, that “as soon as [rates] go up, the stock market is going to go way down.” On Thursday, after giving a speech at the Economic Club of New York, Trump again took aim at the Fed. “The Fed has become very political,” he said [88]. “Beyond anything I would have ever thought possible.”

It’s impossible to reconcile Trump’s conflicting statements on Yellen and the Fed’s interest-rate level. Low interest rates can’t be both smart policy and evidence of corruption, just like Yellen can’t be both “very capable” and a shameful Obama stooge. But beyond the contradictions, Trump has betrayed a basic misunderstanding of how central banks work. Take his statement that he and Yellen are both “low-interest-rate” people. Yellen, he said, has “always been a low-interest-rate person.” Central bankers like to say that the entire point of the Federal Reserve is to “lean against the wind,” meaning that, when the economy is growing so fast that it risks inflation, the Fed raises its interest rate, and, when economic growth is sluggish, the Fed lowers it. In the context of central banking, Yellen is often identified as a “dove,” which means that she is generally a bit more concerned about lowering unemployment than about the risks of inflation. But calling Yellen a “low-interest-rate person” is like calling a doctor concerned about a patient’s high fever a “low-temperature person.” Yellen, like all central bankers, is not a low-interest or high-interest person. She’s a person for whatever interest rate is appropriate, given economic conditions. In her two decades of votes as a senior Fed official, she has voted for higher rates plenty of times.

Where Trump is most clearly and dangerously wrong is in his accusation of political interference by the White House. Yellen doesn’t make decisions about the interest rate on her own. As chair, she has one vote on the Federal Reserve’s twelve-member Open Market Committee, which is currently made up of five members appointed by President Obama and seven members who come from regional Federal Reserve banks and who are chosen by their own boards, made up of bankers, businesspeople, and, in some cases, community representatives. It’s a diverse lot—several members of the committee have shown no particular loyalty to the President. What’s more, the board’s decision-making process about the interest rate is public. We know how each of the twelve members vote at each meeting of the committee. The Fed even releases a “dot plot,” which shows how the different members expect to vote over the coming years.

This publicness has been designed for good reason. The Fed funds rate is the interest rate at which banks lend money to one another for overnight loans. In practice, this rate sets the tempo of the entire global economy, and changes to it ripple through every aspect of our economic lives. Sudden and unexplained moves would create panic. That the Fed hasn’t raised its rate since December cannot be explained as some nefarious plot jointly concocted by Obama and Yellen. It is fully explained by a board of technocrats studying the data and coming to pretty much the same conclusion that nearly everybody else who looks at the data reaches: our economy is still in a period of sluggish growth and, despite Tuesday’s cheery economic [89] news, a Fed-induced tightening could send millions of Americans back into unemployment and generally wreak havoc on the economy—a point Trump himself endorsed in his brief pro-Yellen phase a few months back.

The Fed is far from perfect and has earned its share of fair criticism. But what makes Trump’s views on central-bank policy particularly troubling is that it is impossible to know where they are coming from. The next President will be able to select a Fed chair and several Federal Reserve governors. By this point in a Presidential election, the major-party candidates’ economic preferences are typically well established, and usually embodied by their economic advisers. Whether you embraced them or despised them as candidates, since the nineteen-seventies, the major-party candidates have made it relatively easy to know how they would approach the Fed if elected. Notably, candidates in recent decades have all shown enormous deference to the Fed as an independent, nonpartisan institution. Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama all reappointed the Fed chair of their cross-party predecessor. Trump has said he will not reappoint Yellen to a second term. So how would he pick her successor? What framework would he use?

Trump’s economic advisers can for the most part be placed in one of three groups. In the first are Larry Kudlow and Judy Shelton, the intellectuals of the bunch, and both advocates of a return to the gold standard. While it has become popular among some Republicans in the past few years, returning to the gold standard is dismissed as a discredited, fringe idea by nearly all economists and market participants. And, for their part, gold-standard supporters typically reject the very idea of a Federal Reserve, so if Trump were to appoint Kudlow, Shelton, or another gold-standard supporter to the Fed, it would be the most radical and potentially damaging economic move since the dawn of our modern economic system, after the Great Depression. (Just how awful an idea returning to the gold standard would be is difficult to convey in a short space, but it’s worth pointing out that, under the gold standard, recessions and deep depressions were frequent, and the central bank and government officials had no ability to respond.)

The second group of Trump advisers is, famously, made up of businesspeople: all those Steves—Feinberg, Mnuchin, Roth, Calk, and the others who come from real estate and finance. As a group, they, like Trump, have not expressed great knowledge of or interest in monetary policy.

Finally, there’s the group represented by Stephen Bannon, the former Goldman Sachs banker and Breitbart News chief now heading Trump’s campaign. Bannon has not talked much publicly about his views of the Fed. But his deep association with the alt-right is worth examining: some on the alt-right have expressed contempt for the very idea of a healthy economy. A guide to the alt-right [90], published by Breitbart in March, identified a subset of the movement, known as “natural conservatives.” For these people, the authors explained, a strong economy isn’t necessarily something to wish for. “Culture, not economic efficiency, is the paramount value,” the guide states. “More specifically, [natural conservatives] value the greatest cultural expressions of their tribe. Their perfect society does not necessarily produce a soaring GDP, but it does produce symphonies, basilicas and Old Masters.” This outlook was contrasted with the views of “an establishment Republican,” who has an “overriding belief in the glory of the free market, [who] might be moved to tear down a cathedral and replace it with a strip mall if it made economic sense.”

Reading these passages helped me understand something that I had found confusing. In reading stories on Breitbart and other sites connected to the awful alt-right movement that Trump has embraced, I found it impossible to identify any overarching view of how the economy should work. There were sloppy and occasional potshots at Obama or Yellen, and a general contempt for the many institutions of modern liberal society. But there were no coherent economics. Which brings us back to Trump’s own views. He has no coherent plan, no view that can be mapped onto the common range of established discussion, whether left, right, or center. On Thursday, Trump’s campaign released his “economic policy [43].” Amid the assertions that a dramatic cut in taxes and regulation will lead to more economic growth and higher employment, there is no mention of the Federal Reserve. Instead, Trump has offered the public a general, instinctive contempt for the Fed and its policies. . . .

13. The nature of Trump’s followers is to be gleaned from the following:

” ‘Virtually Every Alt-Right Nazi Is Volunteering for the Trump Campaign’ ” by Ed Mazza; Huffington Post; 9/30/2016. [91]

It seems Donald Trump [92] has united one group of voters: Neo-Nazis.

“Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Andrew Anglin, editor of the white supremacist website Daily Stormer, told the Los Angeles Times. “Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign [93].”

The comments confirm reports from throughout the campaign season that white supremacists were mobilizing for the Republican presidential candidate and excited by his platform. Trump has picked up endorsements from leaders and publications in the neo-Nazi movement [94] since early in his candidacy. Some members of the movement have even made robocalls on his behalf [95]. . . .

14. There has been a considerable amount of coverage of Donald Trump’s thinly veiled exhortation for his pro-12nd Amendment followers to shoot Hillary Clinton. Trump is also encouraging his followers to show up at polling places to guard against the [fraudulent] prospect of voter fraud. Many see this as an exhortation to violently intimidate minority voters. If Trump loses, it will be interesting to see how those followers who have been regaled that the election is “rigged,” will act.

The betting money, here, is that we will see a significant uptick in rightwing terror and murder, much of it the “lone-wolf/leaderless resistance” variety for which Glenn Greenwald [96] ran legal interference.

Again, the point is that the Trumpenkampfverbande is not going away. Whether led by a Donald Trump, Jr., who eschews his father’s locker-room banter, or someone else, the Underground Reich is moving above ground.

“Danger on November 9th” by Josh Marshall; Talking Points Memo Editor’s Blog; 10/12/2016. [97]

I’ve been wanting to discuss this. But so much has been happening it keeps getting pushed back to the next day or the next post. Quite simply, everybody needs to be paying close attention to what happens on November 9th.

It now seems quite likely that Hillary Clinton will win the November election and become the next President of the United States. But Donald Trump has been for months pushing the idea that the election may be stolen from him by some mix of voter fraud (by racial and ethnic minorities) or more systemic election rigging by persons unknown. Polls show that large numbers of his supporters believe this.

Now, here at TPM we’ve been writing and reporting about the GOP’s ‘vote fraud’ scam going back almost 15 years. It’s a hugely important issue. But to date it has mainly been used to heat up Republican voters and drive state-based voter suppression measures. After a decade-plus pushing the idea, Republicans passed various voter suppression measures in numerous states after the 2010 midterm election. But to date, the ‘voter fraud’ scam has never been fully weaponized as a way to delegitimize and even resist a specific election, certainly not a national election. As Rick Hasen explains here, Donald Trump is doing that now. And he is succeeding in as much as he’s convinced substantial numbers of his supporters that if he loses it will be because the election was stolen. [44]

It is a very, very dangerous step when a presidential nominee openly threatens to jail his opponent if he wins. It’s no less dangerous when a candidate pushes the idea that an election will be stolen and lays the groundwork for resisting the result. That’s happening. It is difficult to overstate the societal benefit of being able to take it almost as an absolute given and assumption that no matter how intense and close-fought an election gets, virtually everyone will accept the result the day after. Undermining that assumption is of a piece with introducing into the political arena the idea that people who lose election might lose more than the election: loss of money, freedom, or worse etc.

I’ll put a pin in the discussion for now. But this is something to watch very closely as the next thirty days unfold. It is a very, very big deal. Trump has been making this argument explicitly for weeks. As I said, we’re had the voter fraud racket for years. It’s never been weaponized like this As the pressure on him grows and his own anger mounts there’s every reason to think he’ll keep upping the ante.